What Do You Do In HR?

We at SHRM believe that knowledge is key to any decision that needs to be made about your future. We frequently are asked questions about what exactly is Human Resources, and this page provides the key information that you need to know. We hope that by clearing up the vague conceptions of what people in Human Resources will do can help you decide if HR is for you.

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What Do You Do in Human Resources?

HR Tracks
Provided by Thuy Lightfoot’s Presentation


Michele Heath – Recruiting Head of Global Recruitment at Nokia

What is recruiting? Recruiting is the foundation for bringing in extraordinary talent into an organization.  Recruiters are very fortunate to never have the same day twice, are constantly learning new things and have the opportunity to offer one of the best products around…a new job.  You are continually learning about individuals, building relationships and working with people to find the right opportunity.  In the end, there is nothing more fulfilling than knowing you were a part of one of the most impactful, positive moments in a person’s life.

Why recruiting? I have been in Recruiting my whole career and it is my passion.  There has never been a dull moment throughout and this is truly an extremely rewarding profession.  In addition to being able to build long-lasting relationships in my network, Recruiting has provided me with the tools to understand the inner workings of companies.  Recruiting is one of the professions that touches all parts of the business and provides you with the insight to the various innovative products a company generates and/or invests in, as well as learning how all of those segments fit together for the corporation as a whole.


Huynh Hue- Compensation and Benefits Worldwide Sales Bonus Program Manager at TI

What is compensation and benefits? HR’s role is to protect both the interest of the employee as well as that of the company.  C&B in particular, plays an important role in making sure that we as a company stay market competitive so that we’re in a strong position to hire and retain critical talent.  In order for TI to stay market competitive, each year we analyze our comp data against our peers and competitor companies.  We’ll make adjustments to our comp strategies to insure we stay market competitive globally for all jobs and at every level.

Why compensation and benefits? Our diligence to maintaining our market competitiveness helps us retain critical talent and recruit new talent.  I think the most rewarding part of my job is when I’m asked to make a comp recommendation and both the employee and the company come out winners.


Rhonda Green- Employee Relations Senior Manager, Employee Relations at Johnson & Johnson

What is employee relations? Employee relations is a specialist function within human resources that manages the relationship between employers and employees. ER activities focus on two areas: the organization’s compliance with applicable employment and labor laws; and increasing employee engagement and productivity by ensuring employees are treated fairly and consistently. ER programs are typically part of a broader human resource strategy designed to ensure the most effective use of people to accomplish the organization’s mission and help it remain competitive in the marketplace.

Why employee relations? My work is extremely rewarding because I get to help people resolve problems at work and make sure they are treated fairly and ethically.   This makes people feel valued and have a better work experience, which also benefits the organization.


Iyer Varshini, HR Senior Manager Johnson & Johnson

What is training and development? Training and Development entails a few key things: 1) Training must be built in a way that it engages audiences and makes them feel “awesome” when they complete it. Therefore it must always be built with a creative lens and should always focus on the learner experience. 2) The goal must be to build targeted skillsets and capabilities in employees helping them unleash their full potential and enabling them to perform optimally.

Once the above two elements are kept in mind, development will typically happen automatically. Training is not the only avenue to develop employees. It is just one avenue. There are many other ways to help employees in their development.

Why training and development? I enjoy my current role because it takes training to a totally different scale. It gives me an opportunity to experiment and continuously think of new ways and learning interventions always keeping the end user in mind. I therefore feel that I get to wear different hats when designing training as I have to imagine myself as the end user who will receive the training (whether it is the manager, specialist, director, recruiter, etc.). I like keeping things simple so my aim in any training that I build is to constantly ask the question of “How can this be simplified even further”.

The greatest fulfillment comes when employees enjoy what they learn and because it is fun and interesting want to learn more. Also coupled with this is the satisfaction that one gets when employees are able to perform efficiently in their roles after training and over a period of time are developing further in their roles/ career.


Brandon Will, HR Specialist at Frontier Communication

What is an HR generalist? An HR Generalist position handles a multitude of responsibilities, the majority including: Benefits, Compensation, Employee Relations, Employment Law, Leave of Absence, Performance Management,  Recruiting, or Others as needed. Although an HR Generalist does not specialize in one particular area, they are the go to source of information for handling most employee inquires and issues.

Why be an HR generalist? It is an exciting position in which each day is an adventure and you have the ability to make an impact on your organization and its people.  You are not limited to one HR specialization and have the ability to influence decision making across all HR and business sectors.


Mitch Hanak, Deloitte Digital Consultant

What is HRIS? As HRIS client service professionals, we bring HR into the modern age through business-driven, technology-enabled solutions.

Why HRIS? benefits not only the HR department, but every employee within the organization. By improving the quality and speed of HR functions, we’re helping employees to get the answers they need at the moment they need them.


Amy Ross, CEO and President of HumanKind HR

What is HR consulting? As a HR Consultant I help clients improve their ability to attract, develop and retain their employees.  A big part of being a Consultant is understanding our client’s business, values, culture and goals.  Once we understand, then we can provide solutions and help implement HR programs that are aligned with the business strategy and organization culture.

Why HR consulting? Being a HR Consultant is very rewarding and challenging work.  I love helping my clients and making a positive impact on businesses that are transforming our world.